Big Third Quarter Lifts Rockets Over Hawks

Coming off an exciting home win over the Spurs, the Houston Rockets host the Atlanta Hawks at Toyota Center tonight. Houston remains three games behind Memphis for the final Western Conference playoff spot.

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Rockets Third Quarter Rally Keeps Hope Alive, New Orleans Proves Unhelpful

Houston, TX (Sports Network) – Kevin Martin scored 35 points to lead the Houston Rockets, who overcame a double-digit deficit to post a 114-109 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.

Chuck Hayes added 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Rockets, who won their second consecutive game to continue their playoff push. They are currently ninth in the Western Conference, three games out of a postseason spot.

Joe Johnson had 25 points to lead the Hawks, who are entrenched in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, four games behind Orlando and four games in front of Philadelphia. Josh Smith ended with 21 points, 11 boards and seven assists.

Atlanta had built a 63-54 lead after the first half, when it led by as many as 14 and shot 58 percent. Kirk Hinrich then scored his only five points of the game several minutes into the third quarter, expanding the Hawks’ lead to 72-61.

However, the Rockets followed with the next eight points to close within a possession, and pulled even later in the quarter. Consecutive layups from Hayes and Martin ended a six-point burst and made it a 77-77 game.

Houston then scored five points in the final 40.7 seconds and carried an 86-81 edge into the fourth.

But the game stayed close, and both teams led down the stretch. They traded six-point bursts, after which Houston held a 105-102 advantage with two minutes remaining.

The Rockets never relinquished that lead, but had to make big shots to do so.

Luis Scola hit two of them: a jumper with 1:34 on the clock that made it a 107-104 game, and another basket with 25.8 ticks left to give Houston a 109-105 edge. Five free throws in the remaining time secured the win.

Game Notes

Both teams shot over 50 percent. Houston made 57 percent of its shots, while the Hawks sank 53 percent from the floor…The teams also combined to make 43- of-49 free throws…Kyle Lowry had 17 points and eight assists for the Rockets.

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Rockets Take On Hawks At Toyota Center, Playoff Hopes On Life Support

(Sports Network) - Time is running out on Houston as it attempts to make a run at the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The Rockets are three games shy of New Orleans with just six games to play as they get ready to host the Atlanta Hawks tonight.

Houston kept its slim postseason hopes alive Friday when Kevin Martin scored nine of his 33 points in overtime as the Rockets pulled away for a 119-114 victory over San Antonio, handing the Spurs their sixth straight loss.

Kyle Lowry knocked down a step-back jumper with 3.9 seconds left in regulation to tie the game for Houston, while Manu Ginobili took too much time on a drive at the other end for slumping San Antonio.

Luis Scola had 21 points and 14 rebounds for the Rockets, who have won six straight at home and seven of nine overall.

"I just can't say enough about our team. In my mind, that might be the best [win] we've had all year," said Rockets head coach Rick Adelman. "They really took it to us the second half and our guys just kept playing. It was a real pleasure to see it."

The Hawks, meanwhile, are just about locked in to the fifth seed in the East and are coming off a 88-83 home win over Boston on Friday. Jamal Crawford scored 20 points in that one as Atlanta used a strong fourth quarter to edge the Celtics.

Al Horford posted 16 points and 15 rebounds while Joe Johnson scored 19 for Atlanta, which holds a 4 1/2 lead over No. 6 Philadelphia.

Zaza Pachulia scored 10 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Hawks, who have won four straight. Atlanta also avoided a sweep of the three-game season series.

"I'm just happy that we won the game," said Pachulia. "I'm not trying to be humble or anything, I'm just glad we won the game. It was a big game for us. We lost two times to Boston this season so we didn't want to get swept. That was a huge fourth quarter for us, we stayed in our game plan and it worked out."

Houston topped the Hawks in Dixie back on Jan. 15 and will be attempting to sweep the home-and-home season series for the first time since 2007-08.

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